NGV visit

11 04 2016

It’s been quite some time (15months) since I last visited the National Gallery of Victoria to specifically look for the contemporary jewellery display.

Given it had been a while, I felt I had something of an expectation to see a change in the display.

It’s not obvious … perhaps there may have been one or two swap outs-ins … though the majority looked to be same to me.

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

Sigh. Sad news. I’m sure there are some in storage that would love to come out!

—–

In other gallery visiting news though, nearby there was an amazing exhibit.
Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, ‘clinamen‘, 2013

What an unexpected and complete joy.

A pump gently (and silently) moves the water so that the differently-sized porcelain bowls to clink into each other … the sound is so peaceful and beautiful, transcendental.

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

photographs taken under gallery conditions, including no flash

This was my highlight of the level 3 visit.





How did you get there?

27 03 2016

Today I was watching an art documentary … you know, as I like to do.

During said passive education I was presented with a painting, a collaboration no less, between Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens : specifically, ‘Hearing‘ (1617-18) in their ‘The Five Senses‘ series.

Hearing ; from Prado Museum in Madrid ; click on image for original source

Hearing ; from Prado Museum in Madrid ; click on image for original source

Look a bit closer at this little birdie …

cropped from above image

cropped from above image

Unless I’m very much mistaken, and I absorbed nothing from my Grandma’s copy of ‘Complete Book of Australian Birds‘, that is a sulfur-crested cockatoo. This raucous little feathered fellow is native to Australia and New Guinea.

So … this was painted in 1617-18.

Mmm … time for me to check my history.

The Dutch apparently were visiting Australia’s coast line (north-west) from 1606 – though most of these visits seem to have been accidents of incorrect navigation and quite a proportion perished.

It seems more likely that perhaps the bird was brought back instead from New Guinea – considering the Portuguese and Spanish were gadding about there from the mid 1500s.

Or perhaps they were traded by Indonesians in touch with New Guinea, who in turn were trading with the Dutch and others.

Oh. I was hoping for a strange story.
This isn’t strange but actually quite reasonable.
Best you go about your day.





The last word on the Ashmolean

24 03 2016

I was lucky enough to get a ticket on a rare tour of the conservation department in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

It was incredible to see what goes on behind the scenes in caring for objects.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

Above: restoration of The Great Bookcase by William Burges.

Below: painstaking restoration of a crewel-work bed hanging, representing the tree of life …. if memory serves, from the 18th century I think. Years of work have gone into this to date, and there’s more to do; I hope in a few years time to revisit the Ashmolean to see it all done and on display.

photograph taken with permission

photograph taken with permission

After the visit, I was looking at exhibits with new eyes … thinking about what it takes to keep the objects in beautiful condition.

Like the below … imagine being the person responsible for polishing ALL that silver (and more) and keeping the environment in the case to minimise tarnish.

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash





More from the Ashmolean

23 03 2016

A few of my other favourite images from the trip to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

1. What is the collective noun for many ancient carvings of Venus?
A replica of the Venus of Willendorf is on the left (sad it’s not the original)
A replica of the Venus of Lespugue is in the middle (again, sad it’s a replica)

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

2. The Dutch still life painting room.
So excited to see this in person.

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

photographs taken under museum conditions, no flash

3. The Alfred jewel

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash





At the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford

22 03 2016

New. Favourite. Museum.
Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

What a lovely place to visit – make the time to pop out if you’re in London or surrounds.

The most amazing artwork here has been playing in my mind ever since I saw it – a modern piece made in response to an ancient object.

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

Label:
The Ashmolean Mummy Boy 3 (lying on his back)
Angela Palmer 2011
Ink drawing on 111 sheets of glass. The drawings are based on CT scans of the mummy of a young boy…”

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

How stunning.

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

photograph taken under museum conditions, no flash

I am quite taken with this.





Emma Fielden ‘Iota’ @ Gallery Funaki

26 11 2015

It was such an absolute pleasure to finally see Emma Fielden‘s work in person in Iota‘ at Gallery Funaki.

Wow. Just wow.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

“At the centre of my practice is the notion of infinity. The ideas that any line drawn is a mere portion of its infinite potential, and that a mark made is a part within a whole, are fundamental beginnings in my work, which I explore through drawing and objects, in various materials and techniques.” EF, 2015

I was exceptionally interested in seeing the handwritten ‘Infinite‘ drawings, that I’d responded to (incredibly strongly) via images from her Sydney exhibition earlier this year. Even more amazing than I expected.

For some reason I thought that the drawings were built up of little circles; but now realise that it is the number 3 repeated … in a secular meditation on the repeating decimal representation of 1/3 … and being in a triptych, together the three complete to a singular ‘one’.

Make sure you read Emma’s own explanation on her website – which of course, as per usual, I only read after writing the above(!): “The work references devotional religious acts and is itself a devotional act.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

The brooches and vessels were a revelation. And smaller than I expected; in the good way, for I like smaller things.

If you visit, please make sure you ask for her technique to be explained. While the pieces are most definitely beautiful in their own right, I believe understanding their construction … the intense precision freedom involved … can only add to their appeal.

Initially I was a wondering if perhaps a perfectly circular (or other geometric) edge shape would align and reflect with the overall concept of infinity … for somehow I have a view, not unlike our ancient and medieval forefathers, that infinite must mean perfect. Perhaps also because I saw perfect geometry in her other Infinity pieces. However I let go of that requirement when I was told that Emma actually makes her own ingots and shapes then to make the plate for the brooches, in many/most cases permitting the edges to form as they choose … another practice I relate to.

I really did want to take some home, especially ‘The Jewel (after James Wright)‘ and the one that looks like an opened clam. Do have a look at the detailed photographs … you can see how the surface detail is formed by repeated engraving. They are a marvel.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

And vessels! There should be more vessels in the world I tell you.

Axis Mundi is also an important component of the exhibition. I think perhaps my aversion to shiny-shiny interrupted my contemplation … the mirror is important, for it reflects the construction into an infinity … the vision is coherent, the installation takes hours and hours (nay, days!). Of course the mirror makes total sense … though I have a thing about mirrors … (this is usually where one says ‘it’s not you, it’s me’).

It’s pretty obvious I respond strongly to Emma’s work … the reflections on the infinite … the implicit and intuitive mathematical fundamentals … the devotion … the mediation, obsession, attention to detail, commitment … quiet determination … there is an exceptional clarity that I can only wish for.

Emma Fielden ‘Iota‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 5th December 2015.





‘Electric’ @ Craft

14 09 2015

It doesn’t happen often that I wander into an exhibition space not knowing what’s on there. Though it happened this weekend, when I was wandering Flinders Lane and thought to visit Craft, even though I couldn’t for the life of me remember what was showing.

Electric‘ is showing and it was something of a revelation.

installation photograph

installation photograph

Participating artists:

  • Alterfact (Ben Landau and Lucile Sciallano) [website]
  • Mark Edgoose [website]
  • Douglas McManus
  • Bin Dixon-Ward [website] with Jon Osbourne

Exhibition media: “Through a combination of artists, materials and ways of making Electric maps the collaboration of the handmade with digital technology. Crafted objects across metals, plastics, ceramics and textiles engage the body in participatory gallery experiences with installations referencing interaction, wearability and function.

installation photograph

installation photograph; Alterfact

The exhibition may look sparse, but each of the four exhibits are amazing.

My favourite were the pieces by Alterfact (image above), which were 3D printed from Southern Ice Porcelain. Absolutely gorgeous! I wanted to take some home, but the ones I really wanted were all already sold. I especially liked the group that had some wiggly lines and were slightly wonky … as though they’ve been made from yarn that’s been worked and used and reused over and over again … perhaps the machine has a small kniption; they’re beautiful in their imperfection.

installation photograph; Douglas McManus

installation photograph; Douglas McManus

Make sure you read the exhibition page on Craft’s site, as it has a lot of detail from each artist.

There’s a lot to think about with the combination of technologies and making … it’s something I’ve been wondering about for a little while now, even though I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about it and what it means for ‘hand made’…

Electric‘ is at Craft until 3rd October 2015.